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It’s as Easy as ABC

“Where do I find prospective donors?”

That’s one of the most common queries I get from nonprofit organizations.

This question often arises as organizations seek to augment their individual giving program. After all, we’ve all heard the Giving USA trend that 80% of all philanthropic giving comes from individuals. So, it makes sense to maximize this revenue stream.

But, where can you find donors—especially major donors—for your organization?

Start with the ABCs of identifying prospects:

A - Ability to make a gift

B - Belief in the cause or the mission of the organization

C - Connection to the organization


Does this individual have the capacity to make a significant gift to your organization? If someone loves your work, but is in between jobs or has financial challenges, they are not a good prospective donor at this time.


Does this individual care about the mission and impact of your organization? Perhaps you know this individual has supported similar organizations before, or has a personal connection to the issue area in which you work. This criterion accounts for hospitals "grateful patient gifts” and the volume of support universities receive from their alums. It’s important to assess the level of belief: is your work of mild interest to them, or is it one of their top philanthropic priorities?


Does this individual have a connection to your organization through a relationship, volunteer experience, or relationship with a constituent? All too often organizations believe that prospective donors are somewhere “out there,” but your best prospects are people your organization already knows.

It’s nice to have a prospect with A, B, or C. But, in order to be a prospective major donor, an individual must have a strong Ability, Belief, and Connection. When you see signs of all three, you are ready to move from cultivation of your prospect to solicitation.

Chat back…

  • How do you gauge the Ability of prospects? Do you use a wealth screening tool?

  • How can you strengthen the Connection your top prospects feel toward your organization?

ABC image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.


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